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It's time for a pat on the back

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VOL: 98, ISSUE: 36, PAGE NO: 33

Mark Collier, BA, RNT, RCNT, ONC, RN

Traditionally during August many practitioners' thoughts turn - just for once - to summer holidays, sunnier climes and the chance to unwind and recharge the batteries on a foreign beach, as long as finances allow, away from the stresses (many of which are positive) of work. Many, however, stay in the UK, despite the crazy weather we have been experiencing recently, best illustrated by the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester. The former was on a fine, exceptionally warm sunny evening while the latter took place during a torrential downpour that seemed to last all night.

Traditionally during August many practitioners' thoughts turn - just for once - to summer holidays, sunnier climes and the chance to unwind and recharge the batteries on a foreign beach, as long as finances allow, away from the stresses (many of which are positive) of work. Many, however, stay in the UK, despite the crazy weather we have been experiencing recently, best illustrated by the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester. The former was on a fine, exceptionally warm sunny evening while the latter took place during a torrential downpour that seemed to last all night.

In many ways the value of the summer holiday and the British weather is governed by external forces - something individuals cannot control - although some would have you believe otherwise. It could be argued that this mirrors the moods of many practitioners within the NHS. On many occasions there is a feeling of optimism which is then contrasted by a pessimistic front, again influenced by external forces.

In many trusts practitioners have to deal with external forces which may influence the way they feel, such as a Commission for Health Improvement visit or activity relating to the ongoing benchmark processes, in addition to patients' altered perceptions and sometimes unrealistic expectations following the latest government budget. They now believe that the NHS has had all its cash flow problems sorted and there is even less excuse for long waiting times or cancelled operations. This is despite the fact that the money awarded to individual trusts in many instances did not even cover the projected financial shortfall identified for the current year.

At times like this we all need the opportunity to recharge the batteries and, despite what is happening around us, reflect on all that is positive within the NHS. Instead of dwelling on the past we need to look forward to how we can shape the future - something practitioners in my own trust are acknowledging by supporting a number of new initiatives, some involving the tissue viability service.

Perhaps now really is the time all practitioners should give not only themselves a pat on the back but also to those working in isolation around them. While not being complacent, we should remind ourselves of the excellent job we are all doing in the main. Take some of the opportunities that are just around the corner to share your experiences with others at the many educational events and conferences that will soon be upon us. Unless we do this ourselves no one else will do it for us.

I am pleased to be able to report that, notwithstanding the recent weather, there has been much coordinated and positive activity in the NHS trust in which I work. Can you say the same?

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